Yellow – The Colour Of Hope

I’ve always had a soft spot for yellow.

Yellow represents warmth, love, and joy. The warmth that is toasty but not too hot, and the love that you don’t have to question or second guess, it just is. The kind of joy that fills your cheeks with giggles and causes you to smile involuntarily.

Yellow is not just the colour of emojis, it is the colour of hope. Hope for Endometriosis Warriors. It is an invitation to speak. It is the essence of who we are, a symbol of the type of days we long for.

Endo Sisters East Africa have launched the Yellow Nails Movement to start the conversation about Endometriosis.

You can have your nails done at a discounted rate at one of the participating salons. These are Ashleys Coiffure and Spa (Nairobi, Nakuru and Mombasa), Urban Hair (Nairobi), Blessed Salon (Nakuru), Mitch Beauty Parlour (Nairobi), Nail Perfection (Nairobi), Grace beauty Salon (Thika), Miracle Salon (Zimmerman) and Geanna Beauty World (Kisumu).

If you’d like to have your nails done at a non-participating salons but desire an information pack within Nairobi, you can pick an Endometriosis information flyer at Cablanche Boutique in Adams Arcade and at Rimis Men’s shop at Ridgeways Mall. You can also contact Endosisters on Facebook.

Yellow is the colour of hope, joy, peace and love.

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Where Dreams Fizzle And Fade~ Endo And Your Career

The sight of blood changed my mind. It wasn’t so much the sight, as it was the experience as a whole, the texture, the colour and the pain. As a little girl, I spent hours daydreaming of myself treating little children and seeing them smile again. Having been well acquainted with the pediatrician, it was only natural for me to follow in her footsteps.

My dreams trickled away, I can’t tell you the day the tap run dry, but I can tell you the days there was short supply. In all of the tales, my period is the constant. For someone who thought they could handle sick people and blood, I was awfully grossed out by my own blood, and worse still, it made me sick.

My energy was sapped, I’d writhe around in pain on the cold tiled floor and finally lie in a pool of my tears. My periods killed my dreams.

When I started working, it only got worse. The pain was disruptive and destructive. It came anytime and lasted as long as it wanted. My reproductive system dictated my lifestyle and work schedule. I had lovely employers who accommodated me and my body’s failures. My second place of work was not as flexible and the stress of the workplace took a toll on me. I cried everyday without fail, my body hurt, and my mind was never at rest, so I left. I left to rest and to start a life that could accommodate my life and my body’s quirks.

An endo-sister recently shared with me how she’d have made different choices in her career if she knew it was Endo. I completely understood where she was coming from. My endo journey has taught me that it is okay to start over, to learn a new skill, and to figure it out as you go. My greatest lesson is: It is good to plan, but when your plan is disrupted, adjust to what life hurls your way.

When It Floods – Endometriosis & Heavy Flow

Big girls wear diapers too.


My girls talk a lot about diapers, my little one is potty training herself. No, really, she woke up one day thia6 week and declared that she was a big girl who didn’t need to wear diapers.  So she graduated to knickers when we are home, this isn’t without accidents and a love-hate relationship with the potty. But, the bottom line remains, diapers are for little girls.


One of the things that I loathed about my periods was that I always received the el-nino version, complete with hail stones, also known as the clots. It was heavy, messy and destructive. It had me longing to stay indoors, to stay tucked in bed, except, it stormed in bed too, and sheets aren’t woven to absorb the red sea. 


I’ve legit thrown away some garments before. I made the grande error of washing off – more like, attempting to wash off – a blood stain with hot water. It bonded. The red carved a home in the threads and refused to leave. I’ve been terribly embarrassed by my periods. Had my self esteem plummet during my periods. I couldn’t trust my uterus not to let me down. The flow sometimes felt like a breast-milk let down, urgent, forceful and absolutely beyond my control. 


I’ve layered and improvised to try to contain the flow. I’ve set reminders to wake up and turn during the night, because the pad just wasn’t loyal. Even layering the pads was not effective in holding back the red sea.

An endo-sister recently shared with me that the one thing she wished that she knew is that adult diapers were an option. 
I never thought of them as an option, in fact, I always considered maternity pads the next best thing. I think it’s a brilliant idea. A lifesaver, and self esteem redeemer.


Big girls wear diapers too. 

Lupron and Endometriosis – What you need to know

There is no known cure for Endometriosis. In Kenya, we do not have access to excision surgery, so doctors perform ablation surgery and then prescribe drugs to suppress the symptoms of Endometriosis.

One of these drugs is Lupron, also Known as Leuprolide Acetate.

Lupron is a Gonadotropin-releasing hormone that is used to treat hormone based tumors like in breast cancer, prostate cancer, lymphoma, and certain kinds of leukemia, endometriosis and uterine fibroids.

It is also used to reduce testosterone in males, to delay puberty in transgender boys and girls till they are old enough to start hormone replacement therapy. It has been used on a trial basis to reduce urges in pedophiles and other kinds of paraphilia.

Administration

It is injected under the skin or in to the muscle.

Side effects to look out for

  • Menopausal symptoms- hot flushes/ night sweats
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Pain at the injection site – redness/ itching
  • High blood sugar
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea/ constipation/ nausea /stomach pain
  • Acne
  • Vaginal dryness/ itching/ discomfort
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Dizziness
  • Memory problems
  • Joint pain
  • Reduces bone density

If it is inhaled it can cause breathing difficulties, asthma like symptoms and skin reactions.

What you need to remember

Lupron is a prescription only drug.

It is not a birth control method, so you can still get pregnant even if you do not get your periods.

If you have a history of osteoporosis in your family, you need to mention it to your doctor because of it’s effect on your bone density.

You need to eat foods rich in calcium and take calcium supplements.

You shouldn’t receive Lupron if:

You are pregnant or breastfeeding.

You have undiagnosed vaginal bleeding

Ongoing drug investigations

There are on-going investigations on the drug with women claiming that it causes more harm than good. You can watch the video below for more context.

https://web.facebook.com/watch/?v=298942434150564

Have you used Lupron before? What was your experience like?

Resources

www.lybrate.com/amp/medecine/lupride-1mg-injection

https://www.rxlist.com/lupron-side-effects-drug-center.htm

https://www.nwhn.org/lupron-what-does-it-do-to-womens-health/

https://youngwomenshealth.org/2014/08/01/endometriosis-leuprolide-acetate-instructions/

Hope in A World Of Endo

During a recent visit to my mum’s house I found my pelvic scans dated 9 years ago.

I froze.

One picture unearthed memories. Memories of pain, confusion and despair.
I had archived those memories, so that I could live in the present and enjoy my here and now.

Out of three ultrasounds only one showed something that helped the doctor see that the pain was not all in my head. The other two scans, were the basis of the ‘it’s all in your head’ argument. The most frustrating and infuriating words that can be said to anyone in pain. Anyone battling real, physical, and invisible pain.

During those months, I was scared, alone and in pain. Those make for a horrible combination. One that can push you to accept everything at face value. I didn’t know about the endometriosis resource centers or support groups. My sleuthing skills were in too much pain to be bothered to do more research on the drugs being administered.

image: art by carrie joy

When the side effects came, I wasn’t sure which evil was worse, the one I had lived with for years or the one that I had willingly had pushed in to my glute. It was a literal pain in my butt. And some of its effects have stuck with me like glue. Nine years later it is hard to shake ‘em off.

I wish I knew what I know now about Lupron. I wish I knew that after sending aunt flo on vacation, it would erode my bone density; that it would sink me into a hole, that it would announce free room and board for every calorie looking for a home. That it would take over 5 years to lose that weight. That the sadness would overwhelm me. That I would experience menopause symptoms as a teen.

Just maybe, maybe if I knew all this, I would have made a more informed decision. I would have taken my calcium supplements, I would have sought help and not drowned in tubs of ice cream.

Information is power. Endo sucks! But it would sure be nice to know exactly what else you could be signing up for when you take a drug. I’ll be highlighting the drugs available in Kenya, and giving you the pros and cons of each.

Finally, we need excision surgery in Kenya. That is what hope in the dark world of endo looks like, excision. And healing, by God’s grace.

More colour, Less Gray

Happy new year!

I hope you had a lovely festive season.

For a long time I was indifferent to new years, the only new thing that it came with was an opportunity for me to wail in pain. In fact, a few years back I was convinced that the older I got the more excruciating the pain became. I longed to find the pause button in life, so that I could sift out the things that I loved and dwell on them.

Pain has a way of changing your life, it shifts your priorities and erases the rainbow in the sky. Both your happy and sad moments are processed through a gray-scale filter.

I still haven’t found the pause button but I have accepted that each year has it’s own beauty that I can dwell on. I am learning to live each day at a time and to remain grateful. Gratitude can illuminate the darkest of paths.

The truth is we don’t know what 2019 will hold, (I am not here to tell you that 2019 is your year…) but we know who holds it. While some curve balls may roll in our direction, I pray that we will experience the grace, peace, strength, joy and love that come from above. And that despite the pain, the rainbows will remain.

Here’s to 2019. A year of living life and finding joy in the little things.

3 Things to Consider this Festive Season

It is that week that temptation is everywhere we turn. The festive season is like a festival of temptation, the foods especially that you have been trying to steer clear from all year may be calling your name from the roof tops, yes, even that name that your friends do not know.

Before you say yes, remember that January is coming, and Aunt Flo is prepping her bag to cross over into 2019. With that in mind, we need to be careful. We know her ways, how easily upset she is, the tsunami-like tantrums she throws when things do not go her way.

Here are three things that I am taking into consideration as I celebrate Christmas this year.

Everything in moderation

A cheat-meal once in a while may not do much harm, depending on what the contents of the meal are. It is important to know your triggers, and try to avoid them. For the foods that cause minimal discomfort, remember to eat them in moderation. Don’t let the cheat meal become a week of lies that you will be paying for dearly in January.

Manage your energy

Christmas can be everything but relaxing, with the buzz of activity during the festive season, the people who want to see you and meals that need to be shared. As the carols fill the air, FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is laced between the lines of invitation texts.  The truth is that you will still survive if you do not do everything or say ‘yes’ to every offer. Conserve your energy and take time to rest. Do something that refreshes you and fills your cup.

Love on yourself

Take time out and think about all the wonderful things that have happened this year. Reward yourself for your wins, forgive yourself for the way that you feel like you have failed. Open a new page and give yourself a chance to dream again.

Allow yourself to dream, rest and believe as you prepare for 2019.

Merry Christmas!

Endo Warriors At The Coast

If you are tired, learn to rest, not quit.

2019 has had more water breaks than sprints and dashes, but in the quiet moments, I have recharged and found new strength.

One of the ideas that was born in the extended water break was ‘Endo warriors at the Coast’, an idea that I have dabbled with and shelved many times over the years. But, when the time is right, things align, and ideas are actualized. Lives are changed.

Without a doubt, I am convinced that angels exist, that God sends divine helpers to hold our hands, provide solutions and remind us of His steadfast presence.

On 10th November we had our first support group meeting. Days later, my heart is still full. Full of joy, peace, hope and expectation. A group of 10 ladies assembled as strangers, and left three and half hours later, refreshed, and with a larger network of women in Mombasa.

We had an interactive session where we shared our journeys, talked about menstruation, menstrual hygiene products, and the herbs and products that are easily available in Mombasa. It was insightful, informative and refreshing.

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Freedom for Girls donated a pack of reusable pads and liners for each lady. We left with both our hearts and hands full.

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Shufaa shared a video with snippets of the event on her YouTube channel. You see what I meant about angels?

A huge thank-you to everyone who came and made this day possible.

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We have some upcoming events:

26th January 2019 – Endo warriors support meet up

23rd March 2019 – Endometriosis Awareness Event – Mombasa Edition

Details will follow. If you would like to learn more, or even plug in, please drop me a line on yellowendoflower@gmail.com.

Our individual voices may be faint, but together we are an army of warriors, creating a beautiful symphony, that will be heard.

While We’re Waiting

Waiting can be hard, lonely and devastating. The dark corridors can dull your spark of hope, the echoes of discouragement can fill your cheeks with sadness and cause your eyes to overflow with tears.

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Waiting Wombs Trust is devoted to walking with women who are waiting on the Lord to hold children in their arms. The reasons for waiting may vary but the journey’s hurdles are similar. The love, grace, care and information that you receive from Waiting Wombs Trust are unmatched. They are more than a support group, they are a family, for those who have despaired, those who have lost, those are hanging on, those who are waiting.

They are hosting a ladies conference #hopeinwaiting on September 21st to 23rd at Pelican Lodge, Elementaita.

Some of the topics that they will cover are:

  • Keeping hope alive
  • What to do when he leaves
  • Grieving
  • Adoption
  • Health

If you would like to register or partner with them, please text the word ‘Conference’ to 0723144000 or send an email to info@waitingwombstrust.org.

One of the songs that have encouraged me while I have been in seasons of waiting is

May the Lord strengthen you as you wait, may you truly run and not grow weary. May you soar on wings like eagles.

There is hope in waiting!

Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar (With the Mother)

Apple Cider is one of my staples. It is way more effective than an energy drink, and a great plus is that it doesn’t give me heart palpitations. The last time I had an energy drink I thought I was going to die. My heart wanted to actively transport itself out of my chest. Instead of feeling energized, I felt anxious, hot, angry and out of control. I am low key intrigued by people who can have a Jägerbomb and live to tell a tale.

I have been using ACV on and off for the last couple of years, and I am sold. My main frustration is sometimes it goes out of stock when my bottle is close to empty, so sometimes I have to take a break from it. My body is not usually very happy about this- the fatigue and brain fog show up.

A few weeks ago, I sampled a kombucha brew that my friend made and I loved it. I told her I would make it and she asked me if I’d ever tried to make ACV. It piqued my interest and I decided to give it a shot after all the worst thing that could happen is it backfires and I go back to using the store-bought one as I restrategize.

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Thanks to Wellness Mama, which is a spring of valuable information, I made my first batch. It has taken slightly over 7 weeks but I now have 400ml of raw and unfiltered homemade ACV with the mother. I made a small batch to minimize my losses.

Anyone who would like to make their own ACV, here is the recipe that I used. Making it at home is perfect especially if you use it for multiple things such as skin care, cooking, and cleaning.

I’ll share my Kombucha brewing experience in my next post.

Have a lovely week 🙂